Eric Posner writing at Slate, I read it so you don’t have to, does more to explain the elitist think of the Collectivist Left than I ever could.
Lately, a moral panic about speech and sexual activity in universities has reached a crescendo. Universities have strengthened rules prohibiting offensive speech typically targeted at racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities; taken it upon themselves to issue “trigger warnings” to students when courses offer content that might upset them; banned sexual acts that fall short of rape under criminal law but are on the borderline of coercion; and limited due process protections of students accused of violating these rules.
Most liberals celebrate these developments, yet with a certain uneasiness. Few of them want to apply these protections to society at large. Conservatives and libertarians are up in arms. They see these rules as an assault on free speech and individual liberty. They think universities are treating students like children. And they are right. But they have also not considered that the justification for these policies may lie hidden in plain sight: that students are children. Not in terms of age, but in terms of maturity. Even in college, they must be protected like children while being prepared to be adults.
There is a popular, romantic notion that students receive their university education through free and open debate about the issues of the day. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Students who enter college know hardly anything at all—that’s why they need an education. Classroom teachers know students won’t learn anything if they blab on about their opinions. Teachers are dictators who carefully control what students say to one another. It’s not just that sincere expressions of opinion about same-sex marriage or campaign finance reform are out of place in chemistry and math class. They are out of place even in philosophy and politics classes, where the goal is to educate students (usually about academic texts and theories), not to listen to them spout off. And while professors sometimes believe there is pedagogical value in allowing students to express their political opinions in the context of some text, professors (or at least, good professors) carefully manipulate their students so that the discussion serves pedagogical ends.
In other words, students should shut up and never express opinions because, apparently, they have not been taught what opinions to have. This is classic Statist thinking, individualism, and individual liberties are dangerous to collectivists like Posner. Folks like him look down their nose at people. Posner’s dream, it would seem is to have everyone muzzled until they are properly indoctrinated to never speak their minds and to only regurgitate whatever their professors teach. Note that Posner says a free exchange of ideals will teach no one anything. Can I get a BS please? Posner also, somehow knows that every college student is an idiot who is incapable of holding or expressing an opinion. I am sure some college students ARE idiots, and those that wish to be told what opinions they can express are useful idiots who, like Posner, might prove foolish enough to write for Slate one day.